Thursday, April 29, 2010

Team Car Radio

The US Women's Cycling Development Program started Team Car Radio that promotes the Guest wRiders Program, which asks cyclists to share stories from their cycling experiences.

I decided to write an article about what goes through cyclist's mind during a solo breakaway. I asked many fellow cyclists to contribute and came up with a great list describing the serious to painful to humorous thoughts that go through people's mind when they're off the front of the peloton.

Check it out:  http://teamcarradio.com/guest-wriders/in-their-head-in-the-break/

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wolf Like Me

Power Animals. Some people look like an animal (My friend Sarah looks like a lion and some of my ex's have backs that resemble bears--ha!), others act like an animal and others feel spiritually connected to an animal. (Think Ayla in Clan of the Cave Bear).

I think feel a combination of all three to my power animal, a wolf! Jennifer Wolf Wheeler. I have wolf figurines in my house and used to joke with my BFF that we were pigs by day and wolves by night. In any case, I'm pretty sure wolves make good cyclists and I wish this t-shirt wasn't sold out.


My teammate and friend, Jen Triplett, knows about this and sent me this excerpt about wolves, which I love.

"One look in my eyes and you can see the truth of who I am. Like some of my brother and sister four-leggeds, we've gotten a bad rap. We mean no harm to anyone. WE have soul arrangements with all who give their lives so that we can continue ours. I love my family. With no false modesty, I am a supreme guardian and teacher. I take this role seriously, not as a burden, but as a welcome assignment and commitment. And the best teachings come through example and story, rather than through lecture and fundamentalist rules. It's also one of your natural responsibilities to teach others, not about matters of the mind, but about matters of the heart and soul. Teach what it takes to live with others in harmony - not through instruction, but by your actions and through personal and mythic stories. Find that balance between true freedom and the interdependency that's an inherent characteristic of living with other beings. You have no need to prove who you are to anyone, nor do you ever have to fight to prove that you're right. Have confidence in who you are and your place in the community. Don't be afraid to take the lead or to stand out, and never be reluctant to surrender that lead when necessary in the spirit of cooperation and harmony."

If Wolf is your power animal:
  • You have a strong sense of family and community and an intuitivesense of social order, and you're very willing to give and receive affection when it comes to your friends and family.
  • You tend to be uncomfortable around people who talk only from their intellect, yet you thrive and relax with people who speak from their heart or gut. Your sense are very keen and you have a well-developed "b.s. detector".
  • You're very expressive, both verbally and nonverbally, and can tell a story with a great deal of passion, sincereity and animation.
  • You avoid confrontations, but if cornered, you'll fight. Usually there's no need for any of this, since your presence naturally and easily commands respect from others.

Ask for Wolf's help when...
  • You feel lost - whether it be in a relationship, a project, or your career choice - or you've strayed from your life path.
  • You're having trouble discerning the truth of what others are saying. Not the factual truth, but whether they're speaking from their heart and soul.
  • You're feeling the need for extra protection, whether it be for your physical safety or protection from psychic attacks.
  • You want to improve your communication by adding more body language and voice inflection, either in preparation for a presentation to a group or for everyday communication.
  • You notice that you're socially polarized, either by isolating yourself or being overly enmeshed with others, and you need to make changes in the appropriate direction to regain balance.
How to Access Wolf's Power:


Sorry! Can't tell! mwahahahahha!

Since we're still having wolf show-and-tell, this is my favorite wolf song--nope, it's not "Ahhhhwooo, werewolves in London." Best quote in the song is "I'll show you what all this howl is for."

Guess Who's Back?

Back again. Tell your friends!

Doctor cleared me for pure sweat fests on the trainer for the week and then outside riding the week after.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Doctor's Note

My Letter

Dear Dr. Oseto,

Hey there! I'm almost fully functioning! I'm off the meds. I can use my left arm to put on the seatbelt and wash my hair. It doesn't hurt at all unless I try to raise it above my head.

So... um...can I ride soon! Please?! It's been 9 days!!!!!!!! Gulp. I'm fat.

Jennifer

His Response:
Nice try. It's been 4 days since surgery. Glad you are feeling better. The hardest part about having your clavicle fixed is not doing too much too soon.

If you want to spin on the trainer for 30 min to loosen up, that would be fine. I'd like to make sure the wound is healing well before you sweat all over it.

No lifting anything heavier than a coffee cup - although the plate and screws are strong, we want to minimize motion at the fracture site so that it heals bone-to-bone.

We can review your return to cycling plan on Wed.

Matt


My Post-Response Thoughts

These are going to be the best 30 minutes of my life. What should I wear?

First Purchase: Magic Specs

So, I haven't used a dollar of the Ones for Wheeler fund yet, as I was supposed to use it to fund Joe Martin in May, which I will be missing. You may be wondering where your money is going if I'm not racing in May. Well, I am still planning on attending (and paying for) NRC races in June through September, so I am just holding on to the money until I can see how I'm recovering from my injury before I buy my plane ticket for my next race.

In the meantime, I have a couple other biking expenses that I need to fund. One being preventing incidents of blindness in racing. I have decided to use a small portion of the donations to buy prescription racing sunglasses to prevent further blindness in upcoming races.

I have wheeled and dealed and researched the best glasses for my prescription and sport. Here is the winner.

Meet Magic Specs, a $350 pair of prescription sunglasses... from the FUTURE!



They better be magic if they cost that much. Here's the break down:

$170 for the frame, $200+ for the prescription lenses. I ended up getting a discount on the frame, making the total cost around $325 which is much cheaper than $3800 for Lasik! I chose this model because they fit my big head (not funny) and the frame is sturdy enough to support the thickness of the lenses necessary for my strong prescription. Plus they come with interchangeable lenses so I can wear clear when it's dark or rainy, and then darker lenses when it's sunny.

Surprisingly, not a lot of sunglasses companies ofter lightweight sports lenses that don't have thick plastic or metal frames on the bottom of the lenses. I didn't know that bike racers were like airforce pilots, with a requirement of  20/20 vision for participation. There must be others with problems like me. I wonder what they're doing??? I know a few of my fellow bike racers with contacts have complained about losing their lenses during races as well. They said they just deal with it hope for the best. There must be a better way.
But back to the glasses...for the price, all I'm sayin' is when I wear these I better have some sort of X-Men vision capabilities or maybe a beanstalk will grow that will lead me to magic treasures.

P.S. This is my first day completely off of meds. I've gone 36 hours now. I think I was more sane on the meds.

P.P.S. Two days until I get to get on the bike! I am totally practicing my "air bike" positions (like air guitar). I'm totally capable of the big ring to little ring and vice versa shifting with my left hand! Oh boo yeah!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

And the winner is...

Robin Secrist!

Oh dear, sweet Robin--congratulations on your win at Cherry Blossom. I like your style with your two minute solo breakaway and the win in the TT. Congrats to you, and I hope to commute with you soon! Just like in the good ol days...


Don't forget about me while I'm in bed, crunching on Oxycodone and cal-amino pills (Thanks, Spencer Chiropractic) and drinking sparkling Trader Joe's water. (It has a delicious lemon twist, yum.)

crunch crunch crunch...

I'll be back soon! I received a pully/rope device from Corpore Sano today to help my shoulder learn to move again. I'm also doing PT exercises called "Dust the table" which is actually a lot easier than dusting the table, so that's nice.

Anyway congrats to Robin on her overall win and Phil for his 5, 4, 3, 2 placing in the men's 4 and everyone at Cherry Blossom!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cherry Blossom Girl

Cherry Blossom is going on right now! This was the race I would think about during the winter--the one that provides the winner an all-expense paid pass to Nature Valley Grand Prix.

Since I'm instead in bed reading about Heidi Montag's terrible implant surgery and Jess and Justin's Split in US magazine, you might expect that I would be upset that I'm not there. I mean, trashy celebrity magazines are great and all...but nothing can beat bike racing.

Surprisingly, I'm not upset. Sure, I'm disappointed that things didn't turn out as planned, but I gotta say, when I saw that my teammate, Jen Triplett, got second yesterday in the first stage, my mood shot through the ceiling! I was so excited for her and wanted to jump up and down--but oh, ow, the collarbone. (Where are my "pirin" tablets?) She had been having a rough couple of races lately--loads of training in the week leaving her fatigued and some head games with hills--so to see that she put it all together, made me so genuinely happy for her.

I started to think, what if Jen won that expense-paid pass. Man, I would be so excited for her. Seriously. The girl works hard.

Oh and it's sunny here in Seattle. I'm blogging in my bed like Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex in the City or maybe like Doogie Howser...yeah, Doogie Howser...without a care in the world except for maybe taking a nap...eating some food? What a 180 turn from usual life--Saturday morning would be a 4 hour ride up Tiger Mt. or a 2-hour drive to a race, get home late in the afternoon and then do it all over again on Sunday.

I appreciate the down time. And this song by Air:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thank You!

Thanks to all for the best wishes and get better soon gifts.

Thanks to Jess Cutler and Cucina Fresca for the pasta!
Thanks to Tela for the snacks and ride to and from surgery!
Thanks to Smilfy for the flowers and snacks!
Thanks to Spencer Chiropractic for the vitamins!
Thanks to MediaPro for the gift package and special delivery!
Thanks to my mom for flying out here to take care of me.
Thanks to my team, WSBA/USA Cycling staff, and other cyclists for the phone calls, referrals, hospital visits, and e-mails.
Thanks to my dog, Louise, for all the smooches.
And thanks to my boyfriend, Nurse Hjorten, for tending to my every need!

I go under at 2:15 p.m. tomorrow and can't wait to be done with it all! I have my full trust in Dr. Matt Osesto from Lenovo to fix me up. Woo hoo!

Time to get some rest and board the Honk Shoo Express....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Staying Positive

When something goes wrong in life, I choose to respond in a positive manner. For instance, crashing. Instead of being woe is me and lying around depressed in bed, I smile at the experience, thankful that I was even able to be racing, chuckle at the pictures of my beat up self--thankful that things weren't worse--and try to prevent the experience from happening again.

I've gotten a few e-mails, some nice and some downright nasty about me riding without being able to see in the crit. Well, let me clarify a couple of things. I lost my second contact with about 5 or 6 laps to go. I can't remember exactly. I thought oh crap. Maybe I can still ride this--I've done it before in multiple training rides. I mean, I have myopia so I can't read or see details but I can make out bodies and colors, etc. I was in the heat of the moment and wasn't sure what to do. My thoughts were how the heck can I safely pull over with a turn every few seconds? Can i just stay up front--away from people on the outside--and get through the finish? You don't really develop strategies for the worst case scenarios until you're in them.

When I crashed I was on the outside left. I took myself out. I'm thankful I didn't take anyone else out with me. So there's no reason to stress over what ifs. What's done is done.

This was my first crash and as in any race, I always learn a lot. Although I've done it in training--and I got lucky and raced solo 30 miles at Mason Lake without them--I can't race anymore without my contacts. This may seem like a no duh thing for others, but honestly, it's like when you slide on ice in a car, some people tense up and slam on the brakes, some people turn into the slide, some people let go of the wheel in scream. You never know what you're going to do to deal with unfortunate circumstances until it happens to you.

The big thing is that I'm moving forward. I've talked to my work, seen multiple doctors, researched lasik and now prescription sunglasses, talked to my fellow riders, and made a plan for moving forward.  Do I think all of it is a big joke? Of course not. But it's over and the only thing I can do is keep my chin up and learn from my experience and move forward rather than to dwell on what's over.

In the meantime, what do you think of these glasses?

Lasik Sponsor

I'm having surgery on my collarbone and then a Lasik consultation on Friday. I have way too many race reports involving "losing contacts." I used to lose my contacts in roller derby and keep a pair in my sports bra. Earlier in the year, I lost both of my contacts during a breakaway and kept riding hard because I couldn't see 100m behind me. I lost a contact in the time trial the day before when I was wearing glasses. Those stories are sort of funny--being motivated to go fast because you can't see behind you-- but crashing isn't.

I just remember trying so hard to concentrate around the turns and squinting to try to figure out if the pace motorcycle was turning left or right ahead. I think I just relaxed for a moment and then BAM! hit the cone. It's frustrating thinking about it.

I hear Michael Gilbert is the bomb for Lasik. I hear it's only $1950-$2750 per eye! I saw all these coupons for other places for $600/eye. I guess the idea of using a coupon for surgery isn't that great of an idea.

Anyone have any Lasik connections or recommendations?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tour of Walla Walla

Stage 1: 2nd in Gc
Stage 2: 1st in Gc
Stage 3: Lost contacts, hit cone, crash, 1st in GC
Stage 4: In Bed w/ concussion and broken collarbone, stitches in elbow, black eyes.

Out of GC. Surgery. Rest. See you in 6 weeks. Stay tuned for pics and game plan. I can do this, obviously.

What would Seabiscuit do?



Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Hagens Berman Jackets

I got my letter jacket! Spiffy!

We ladies are going to look fly in these jackets.

Go Hagens Berman!

The USWCDP and My Story

Yesterday I had a great conversation with Michael Engleman from the US Women's Cycling Development Program. We talked about how to get me into the pro scene and all the women the USWCDP has helped along the way. I couldn't believe how helpful he was to a complete stranger. He also was so encouraging of  aggressive racing styles and took some pressure off, saying that even if you don't get in the top three in big races, when teams see you constantly attack or make bold moves to go with or bring back the pack, they take note. Nobody wants a team of pack filler.

After chatting for a half hour about the potential composite teams, coaching, and training the USWCDP had generously offered to athletes, he said  the only requirement the USWCDP has of athletes is to give back down the road. How incredible is that?!
 
I'll keep you updated on those developments down the road, but for now I thought I might share my story. Michael requested that I revise my cycling resume to include a little bio story. He said teams like to read about the cyclist's story, especially when they don't have big results yet.
 
So here's my story:

When I began my cycling career in the summer of 2009, I had no idea what lay ahead—all I knew was that I wanted to compete, I wanted to win, and I wanted to go far. Although I had already experienced success in life—a full running scholarship to a Division I college, a Master’s in English, a fulfilling career as an instructional designer, a spot on the All-Star team for the Rat City Rollergirls (a roller derby league ranked 3rd in the nation)—I wanted more. A friend suggested I attend a track class at the local velodrome, and from there, my passion for cycling instantly skyrocketed.

My tolerance for pain learned from running combined with the fearlessness I developed in roller derby paved the way for my immediate success in the sport. After just a few months, I became a threat in the road racing scene and also qualified for Elite Track Nationals where I placed in the top ten in four events, taking home a third place medal in the Team Pursuit.

After nationals, for the first time in my career, I felt like I finally found my calling. I never had the right body type for a distance runner. At my job, my ideas were often “too creative” for most of my corporate clients. But in cycling, things just worked. I was hooked and determined to be the best, no matter how long that took and what I had to sacrifice.

After I returned from track nationals, I dedicated my winter to training for the 2010 road season: cycling to and from work, after work, on the weekends, in the rain, in the dark. My life was cycling, and my job became a means solely to pay for my cycling.

So far in 2010, my hard work has paid off. I have won 98% of my road races thus far, even soloing off the front on numerous occasions. I have proven that I have the engine to be great but still have much to learn about tactics, teamwork, and other areas that can only be learned by racing beyond the local level. I’m looking for the opportunity to listen, learn, and use my talents to help a team win and further develop myself as a cyclist.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Designing a Passionate Life

The biggest struggle for most up-and-coming cyclists is juggling a full-time job, a home life, and a part-time training schedule. (I consider part-time 20 hours in this context.) After earning my Master’s in English/writing, I got a job a week after grad school as an instructional designer to design and write online training courses for corporate vendors. Seven years later, I still have the same type of job and have acquired a wealth of knowledge about varying topics from Dialectical Behavioral Training to floral design to HIPAA compliance. All very useful for party chatter—trust me.

Anyway, during a two-year project with Seattle-based therapists who administer treatment for borderline personality disorder, I learned about Zen principles such as being in the moment, noticing thoughts and emotions within to practice distress tolerance. Although I try, I still often struggle applying these principles in the heat of the moment—which is exactly when you need them. I often allow my training, work, personal life, and all the associated anxiety bleed together, making it so I do a poor job handling everything rather than doing one thing at a time successfully.

This is where my “work” life coach, Paula Harvey, often helps. I didn’t originally friend her with the idea that she would become my ad-hoc, pro-bono “life coach,” but when you work 40 hours a week with a person and deal with the ups and downs of work and life, things just naturally come together. She has witnessed me over the years go through relationships, work problems, roller derby scandals (Arsenio Brawl was a hot-tempered roller queen--note the "Ass Kicker" name tag.), and cycling ups and downs. She’s seen me overwhelmed with happiness and delight, irritable from late night training or work to meet a deadline, and also with puffy eyes from late nights of grieving over events that seemed so important at the time in my small world. Without even asking, she rolls over to my side of the cubicle and starts working at putting events into perspective. She asks questions such as—is that your perception or the reality? What work do you need to do yourself to get you there? Have you asked Jake (my boyfriend) what he thinks about this? What have you done for Louise (my dog) lately?

It often takes an outsider—someone removed from your worlds--to bring another perspective to your eyes. I’m grateful for Paula for her support of my manic endeavours over the last four years  She’s coached me through the ups and downs of life, and I think has made me a more mature person, able to give more to others in my life.

Thanks, Paula!

Jake Hjorten--whose 1st passion (besides me) is rock climbing.

Louise whose 1st passion (besides Hagens Berman Cycling) is food

Arsenio Brawl whose 1st passion (besides roller derby) was ass kicking. RIP Brawl.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pedal On, Pedal On

I learned a lot about the kind of rider I am this weekend.

I learned that sometimes you have to risk losing to win--and even then, chances are you may not win. I affirmed that I would rather place last trying for first (for me or for my team) than race for second.

I learned that I have a great team of powerful riders who are willing to put it on the line for me. And I am willing to do the same for them.

I learned that people mistake drive for arrogance. And there will always be people who want to bring you down with no motive other than to see you fail , but a new friend told me, you just press delete and take the high road.

I was reading Michael Barry's Inside the Postal Bus and liked this paragraph Dede Demet Barry wrote about Lance Armstrong:

"Lance was a brash kid from Texas who was aggressive and never afraid to be the boss among any group of people. He had fire in his eyes and loved to race. After his first year in the sport, he earned the nickname “King”: this is what he was called by both those who revered his talent and drive, as well as those who loathed his brash behavior.

Lance was self-focused, in a way that many great athletes and business people must be to become the best. Not everyone appreciated this, but he quickly garnered the respect of the cycling world as he fought his way to the front of every race. He blew nearly every race apart with his attacking style and had a burning desire to win at all costs.”

Although I'm no Lance Armstrong and it's possible I may never be more than a workhorse in the big leagues, regardless you gotta think big to be big and keep fighting no matter what. Pedal on.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Local Publicity!


A sweet shot on Seattle's Capital Hill Blog
Jennifer Wheeler of Hagens Berman Cycling team is a blur as she rides through Volunteer Park during today's Spring Bike Classic sponsored by Seattle SuperSquadra Cycling  Photos by Clara Ganey | The Spectator.

A snippet in the The Seattle PI
 Jennifer Wheeler (Hagens Berman) has been a standout so far this season. She started racing last summer as a category 4, and has quickly risen through the ranks to category 2, and won both Sequim races.

Tyson Tactics Work

Volunteer Park: Win

My first crit this year with the local Pro, 1, 2 squad. It was quick from the gun. After that, there were multiple attacks from my teammates, Beth Lyndon-Griffith, Jen Triplett, Brook Nunn, Liz Nettles, and Liz Marzolf, as well as other local stars such as  Rhae Shaw, Tricia Bailey, Suz Weldon, and Jadine Riley.

After multiple, grueling attacks and counter attacks made by my team and other teams, Jadine and I managed to make an attempt to get off the front stick after a prime. Having already lost the prime to Jadine, I thought well, might as well make this effort count and took off with Jadine glued to my wheel with 12 minutes to go. We immediately gapped the field. I tried to pop her several times and get her to work with me, but she wasn't having it. She is a very tough person to get off your wheel. So I wasn't sure to do in this situation. Do I pull my competitor around for 10 laps and hope she doesn't outsprint me? Not that smart. I mean Jadine rides with the #3 number while I'm just #60. Then I start wondering if  I'm a boob and she's just cruisin' easy behind me, waiting for me to die? No time to doubt myself now and since  I already committed, I just put my head down and hammer. This does some damage and at five laps to go, I'm gapping her. This makes me work harder and so I just hammer it, thinking about winning and the bigger picture. This motivates me. I ended up winning by about 40 seconds. And was able for the first time to take both hands off the bars. I look a little nervous, but I'll take it!
Another victory for Hagens Berman, especially since our team ended up with 1st, 2nd, and 4th overall. Nice.

Confidence

I have a race today at Volunteer Park. I've spent my morning mentally preparing for the criterium.

This quote by Mike Tyson always motivates me: "I can't lose. I refuse to lose."

Although he went nutso later in his career (he probably was always nuts--you have to be to want to get hit in the head), it's incredibly motivating to watch him fight in the 80's.

Check out this first round knockout with Tyson and Spinks, who held the heavyweight champion title. Tyson knew exactly what he was going to do. Spinks tried to fight back and crumbled. The confidence and determination exudes from Tyson. He had one tactic. When the bell rang, balls to the wall, 100% beat down.

Incredible.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What Can I Do for You--Besides Win!!!???

Can I post your logo on my Web site? Link to your business? Mention your name?

I've gotten almost 700 unique hits in the past day. People are visiting.

Let me know!

Contact me! My email address is the header of the donation Paypal screen.

Thanks!

Results



Here are some of my results over the past year: http://www.wsbaracing.com/people/8600/results

Here are my results from 2010 Elite Track Nationals after just 4 months of racing:
Women's Pursuit: 9th overall
Women's Points Race: 6th overall
Women's Team Pursuit: 3rd overall
Women's Scratch Race: 9th Overall

Here are some photos from my events:

Goal 2: Tulsa Tough

Tulsa Tough is a 3-day crit series in Tulsa, OK.

There's a turn every 10 seconds. It's fast, tactical, and a big exposure event.

Here's the breakdown of expenses we'll be funding:
  • Airfare: $290
  • Bike Fare: $280
  • Entry Fee: $120
  • Food: $100
  • Lodging: Free--Host Housing!
  • Lost Wages: 16 hours
Total Costs: $790


Check out some highlights and get psyched!

Racing Schedule

Here is my racing schedule (not including local races) for the rest of 2010, which provides our upcoming goals on this blog.

  • April 16-28 Walla Walla
  • April 23-25 Cherry Blossom
  • May 5-8 Joe Martin Stage Race--Funded!
  • May 21 Wilmington Grand Prix--Funded!
  • June 4-6 Tulsa Tough (instead of Hood)
  • June 16-20 Nature Valley/American Dairy Series (Note: Winning Cherry Blossom funds Nature Valley)
  • June 24-25 Nationals
  • July 3 Marion Classic
  • July 20-25 Cascade Classic
  • August 28 Chris Thater Memorial
  • September 29-Oct 3: Elite Track Nationals
As you can see, Goal 1: Wilmington Grand Prix has been completed!

Our next goal: Goal 2: Tulsa Tough

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Contributions

To put this all in perspective and put a vote out that pro cycling requires $$$$$$$, here is a glimpse of the schedule and financial burden of a new cyclist trying to go pro. Ah yes, it's my schedule and finances for just the 2010 road season--this is just from mid October to Mid April 2010.

Keep in mind that much of these items are investments--until you crash, and you will crash--so the financial burden decreases slightly. Bike parts always wear out every few months. Tires pop, etc.

Equipment: Keep in mind this is all necessary not optional. No TT bike=no win. No TT wheels=no win. These things cut minutes off times. If you don't have sufficient (you don't need the best) equipment, you're not on the same playing field as the pro's.

I am also providing the retail prices. Luckily, I get sponsorship from some companies, which can vary from 10-50% off retail. Regardless, it's still a huge chunk of change.
  • Time Trial Bike Used: $1600
  • Time Trial Helmet: $175
  • Time Trial Wheels (Disc, tri-spoke front) Used on ebay: $1,500
  • Tubular Tires (4 tires): $100/a piece
  • Carbon Soled Cycling shoes (Harder soles keep your feet in place and allow maximum power transfer): $280
  • New pedals: $120
  • New cleats (These wear out every three months, allowing your foot to slip in the pedals) $25
  • Cycling clothing for rain, freezing, and warm temperatures (One pair of shorts costs around $80): $600
  • Race bike--light weight, good shifting : $5000
  • Tubular Race wheels: $1600
  • Fenders for training bike (PNW equals RAIN every day in the winter): $65
  • Power Meter for solo training up hills, cadence, heart rate : $1000
  • Two replacement chains: $80
  • One new cassette: $110
  • One new bottom bracket : $60
  • 4 sets of cable and housing : $60
  • Handlebars : $60
  • Bar Tape: $20
  • Front derailleur: $60
  • 4 sets of brake pads (rain and grit eats these up) : $40
  • Stationary Trainer for indoor training: Used $175
  • Sunglasses : $100
  • Race Bike Saddle: $100
  • Time Trial Saddle Used: $175
  • Seat Post Clamp: $40
  • Sports Drinks and Bars: $200
  • Bike lights for pitch black, raining weather: $150
  • Bike Pump: $80
Equipment Total: $13,875

Miscellaneous
  • Bike maintenance--this is all the labor for putting on new parts: $600
  • Coaching: 225/month:
  • Physical Therapy for injuries/overuse 25+ per visit/insurance
Miscellaneous Total: $2050


Training
  • 16-20 hours a week since October 16. This is approximately 6, 750 miles on the bike. 75% was logged outside, at night, in the rain and cold through the winter months.
  • 3 hours a week core exercises.
  • 1-2 hours studying cycling, reading history, learning about tactics.
Work
  • Senior Instructional Designer at elearning company. 40 hours a week. My career for the past 7 years. It's a 9-5 job which I enjoy and they enjoy me...except when I'm crabby or tired from training. It's a great job. Laid back, creative, and great people who support my hobby.
  • Given all the expenses above, I must have this job and must do well to break even every month.

Making an Impression at Age 10

I received a donation from my elementary school gym teacher in Indiana. She remembered me when I looked like this:



She left me this touching message:

I have ALWAYS believed in you. Maybe this can help you get your dream started.
Love,
Miss Gunn

Just like me, she's moved on to bigger and better things, but still looks out for me.

I remember in elementary school, running the mile run around the parking lot. I remember placing second in the class--a few seconds behind Rusty Beal. I ran a 7:01. I remember wanting to impress Miss Gunn. I don't remember loving running at the time. I just wanted to win! I'm thankful I haven't grown out of that desire.

Later, running--along with my academic success--paid for my undergraduate schooling at Eastern Kentucky University, which has a Division I running program. I insisted on attending an Division I school because in my high school mind, I wanted a chance to go the olympics. Unfortunately, I would later find out a 5'7", 145 lb body isn't quite suited for long distance running at a world level. But it is great for cycling!!! Woo Hoo!

Anyway, I can't believe how many people want to help. It's incredible, flattering, and motivating. We are up to $600+ dollars in just a few short hours.

At first I was just going to see how this goes. Now I am going to schedule my full racing calendar, develop a list of needs, and map out exactly what I need. And then I can then donate to other local cyclists who are in need of help as well.

Thanks for a great first day. I have to get back to work and then go put the hurt on some 1/2 men tonight at Seward.

Goal 1: Wilmington Grand Prix


After the Joe Martin Stage Race, Wilmington Grand Prix is the next race on my calendar.

Here are the expenses:

Cost:
  • Entry Fee: $40--Complete!
  • Airfare: $399--Complete!
  • Bike Travel: $280--In progress
  • Lodging: $200--In progress
  • Lost Wages: 8 hours
Total Needed: $919--Check out the Fund Meter on the right to see our progress!

More Details:

NRC Race: YES!
Type of Race: Criterium
Exciting: Yes!
Location: Delaware! Goodness! "Hi, I'm in Delaware."





Providing Credit Where Credit Is Due

Here is a Snapshot of the NRC Race Calendar:



Ideally--in a professional cyclist's world--I would complete 80% of these races. Training through some and peaking for others.

In my world filled with expenses and work commitments, Joe Martin Stage Race will be my first race. It is in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I have never been to Arkansas--what a perfect excuse to go! It's a four-day stage race, with a 2.5 mile, uphill time trial on Thursday, a 64 and 69 mile road race on Friday and Saturday, and a 60 minute criterium around city streets.

My team, Hagens Berman, has generously offered to pay for my expenses and take me with the men's team for this race. Hagens Berman is one of the few local teams who funds up and coming pro cyclists who have the talent and ability to race at a national level. Our elite men's team is proof of that. Why no elite women's team? Well, they've tried. The problem is that many of the races require a team to enter and locally only a few women have the desire or ability to race at a national level. Why don't more women race nationally? It goes back to that conundrum. Do I invest in a career that promises little pay and long hours which I have a 10% guarantee of succeeding in? From what I hear from up-and-comers, the men's cycling world isn't much more glamorous, but it certainly offers more opportunity than the women's cycling world. But that's a whole different blog post.

So back to my point. It's nearly impossible to snag funding for a one person team, consisting of me, especially when I haven't proven myself on the road nationally. Imagine it in terms of a pro basketball team. If you have a superstar in college basketball, no matter how promising the player, no one is going to form a team around that person. And no one is going to fund a team consisting only of that person. Sure the person can enter shoot offs and other events, but still, you need a team. And who knows what will happen to that person. It's too risky.

Maybe you are taken aback at this point. I'm investing in a horse that hasn't even made it to the derby? Think Seabiscuit, people. No? Ok, think of it this way: it's $1. No risk. If I walked up to you on the street and asked you for a $1 and didn't provide an explanation, if you knew me, you'd say sure, right? Ok, I'd throw in a Puttin' on the Ritz dance number, but you'd have to up it to $1.32.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mission Statement and Rules

"The odds of becoming a pro athlete: 22,000 to 1."

I have a chance to be the 1 of my 22,000 peers.

My checklist is solid: I have the talent. I have the drive. I have the work ethic. I have the guts.

If I were in a movie, that would be all that is necessary to make it (and I can guarantee that I would play "Rudy" much better than Sean Astin). In the real world, it takes financial backing and a huge amount of sponsorship.

Here are the minimum costs of a typical 4-day stage race:
  • Typical race entry fee: $150
  • Travel expenses: $500-$1000
  • Lodging: $500-$1000
  • Food: $200

Given there are 15+ of these races a year, very few have the financial ability to fund just the race expenses alone. Add the costs of equipment and maintenance and it's even more daunting. And in my case, add graduate school loans, credit card debt, car payment, and it's impossible to afford the sport even with a 40/hour week job.

This is the hard place where many talented cyclists choose the safer path over a dream of 22,000 to 1 odds, a dream that holds little promise of glory or fame.

I want to defy the odds and be that one. I need help.


 My goal of this blog is to accomplish three things:
  1. Spread the word: Entertain you with my own personal set of trials and tribulations involved in the journey to become pro. Prove I'm deserving of your time and your generosity. Show that I can turn $1 into a worthy investment.
  2. Ask for help: Ask readers to donate $1 to the cause.
  3. Pay it forward: A movie starring Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey and that kid from the Sixth Sense.
  4. Really pay it forward: Inspire others to pursue greatness. Donate time and knowledge to others along the way.
Rules
  1. All money received will go towards racing expenses. This includes entry fees, travel expenses, bicycle maintenance, and equipment for 2010.
  2. All donations will be tracked and held in a separate account.
  3. All residual money will be donated to a women's cycling charity.